Thursday, September 01, 2016

Elections in the Philippines: the challenge of working away from home for the first time


Liski Ortega, Technology Deployment Applications Sr. Engineer and José Gregorio Camargo, Technology Deployment Applications Analyst, travelled for the first time to the Philippines from our office in Venezuela to be a part of  the largest elections with an electronic vote count in history

For both of them, the experience of working in the project represented a professional and personal challenge, in every way: working far away from home, hand in hand with a quality team to guarantee that voters could exercise their rights without any incidents. 

“A great personal and professional experience”

Lisk travelled to our office in the Philippines to be a part of the team in the National Technical Support Centre (NTSC), which provided support to the field staff deployed in the May 9th elections. 

Liski’s experience in the Accra office was a normal one. About her daily life, she tells us she “had the chance of going to Bonifacio Global City, especially to Bonifacio High Street, a boulevard with many places of interest”.

Of those days, she remembers the times spent with her Filipino colleagues, “a team of great human quality and highly trained” to make sure this election, which saw over 55 million voters, was successful.

Thanks to her labour at the NTSC, Liski also got to meet the Venezuelan ambassador in the Philippines, Capaya Rodríguez González. “We spent an afternoon with a person of good qualities and good energy. We spoke about Smartmatic’s experience in elections while we ate typical Venezuelan dishes halfway around the globe: dulce de leche, papelón con limón and tequeños”.

As to which Smartmatic HQ she prefers, Liski states that she likes Venezuela the most, although this experience of working in the Philippines was a “great personal and professional satisfaction, in every way”.  

Adapting to make an election successful
José Gregorio travelled for the first time to work at the NTSC for two months. The opportunity gave him the chance of meeting members of the Smartmatic family who “came from other HQs, full time employees and some hired in Manila”.

This time had to work tirelessly to conform to the project’s deadlines.  However, the day-to-day was “satisfactory, [although] there were times where we slept less than 8 hours so we could successfully meet all the stages in the timeline.  

Although the work was hectic, he had the chance to explore places near the office.  “I had the challenge of communicating in a different language and adapting to the customs of the language.  In a few weeks I explored their gastronomy and saw some places of interest”.  

After returning to Venezuela, José Gregorio has the pride of having participated in the third automated FIlipino election, knowing that “everyone could exercise their right to vote, with no incidents whatsoever”. 

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